The ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine not only offers a wealth of knowledge on long-lasting health and wellness, but points to the true essence of beauty that’s intrinsic in nature and humans alike.
Around 5000 years ago, the sages of India developed a holistic system of medicine referred to as Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that translates to the science of life. Interestingly, Ayurveda, which originated from the Vedic system of knowledge, is complementary to yoga. At the heart of Ayurveda is the inextricable link between mind and body, which, when in balance, is believed to promote long-term health and wellbeing. And while the principles cover nutrition, movement, mindfulness and self-care, Ayurveda also offers rich teachings to enhance our energy centres and inner state of consciousness. Practitioners believe that once we have entered into a state of balance, we achieve the most pure, true and beautiful embodiment of ourselves. And this is believed to be the essence of beauty.
A world away from Western ideals, which focus primarily on the external and the physical, Ayurveda provides a holistic approach to beauty. It’s believed there are three pillars of beauty: outer (roopam), inner (gunam) and lasting beauty (vayastyag). Outer beauty is reflected through a clear, radiant complexion; inner beauty refers to the deeper, more personal level, exemplified through a charismatic, warm and kind personality; and lasting beauty refers to spiritual and mental peace. Practices such as meditation, yoga and breath work help to anchor the mind into a blissful, relaxed state. Practising stillness, becoming aware of the breath and balancing our chakras (energy points) help to channel prana, or life-force energy, throughout the body. As such, a healthy body is perceived to be a by-product of good spiritual and emotional health. And once we’re on the path to spiritual health and higher consciousness, we each attain our true, unique expression of beauty.
In their book, Radical Beauty, world-renowned integrative medical practitioner Deepak Chopra and nutritionist Kimberly Snyder outline a new definition of beauty, weaving in the spiritual underpinnings of Ayurvedic beauty. “Radical beauty extends beyond the physical, encompassing all parts of your inner and outer being,” they write. “It is something that exists universally and, at the same time, it is completely unique to you. It’s about your vitality and overall health and energy. You achieve radical beauty when you reach the highest and most authentic potential of your natural true beauty.”
Ayurveda teaches us that beauty is intrinsic to nature and the laws of the
universe. In fact, effortless, unique beauty is demonstrated all around us; it’s in the delicate pattern of a seashell, the blossoming of a flower and the ripples of the ocean. Beauty is a universal force that’s constantly being created and, as humans are intrinsic to nature, we carry the very essence of beauty in our DNA. “You were born to claim your own authentic
expression of beauty,” write Deepak and Kimberly. “And since your expression is unique to you, you don’t have to compare or feel competitive with everyone else. We can also all celebrate everyone else’s expression of beauty as well.”
In essence, the Ayurvedic approach to beauty transcends the physical and the comparison that’s come to dominate our modern-day world. On the contrary, Ayurvedic beauty reflects the inner. True beauty is each individual’s expression of a peaceful mind, a kind soul and a compassionate heart. It’s the energy that we omit. It’s heart-based living. It’s the intangible light from within. It’s the practices of kindness and compassion. It’s the most natural, authentic version of ourselves. It’s the interconnectedness of mind, body and soul, which, when in balance, reflects the magnetism of being. And therein lies true, radical and lasting beauty.
Words DANAE DIMITROPOULOU